journal for 2004-03-11

dry spell

The lack of a calendar on my current journal layout makes it too easy to ignore a dry spell. I need to get to that. It’s still in my todo list, against which I’ve made little progress lately.

Progress at work has also been a little dry lately, and I mostly blame being spread thin. Having three or four open projects is hardly easy when the projects are simple, and it’s a total PITA when they’re complicated. I’ve decided to perform work iterations in weeks, which should help a lot. I think.

If this does work, maybe it’ll be a sign that I should apply the same pattern to personal work. Rather than have “website Monday,” I can focus by the week. This might be a lot better, now that I think about it.

perl mongering

Monday was the first technical meeting of, and I think it went well. I did a presentation on automated testing and test-driven development, largely stolen from Schwern, Andy, and chromatic. I think it lost momentum toward the end, which is a shame, because that’s where I stuck the “Five things to do…” slides from Andy’s testing talk. I think the whole presentation could use a second draft.

Anyway, despite my own feelings, I got some very nice feedback, some of which included my target response, “Now I feel like I should start writing tests.” So, I’m happy.

After the slides we just talked for a while, and then we went down to McGrady’s for a couple beers. I had some Boddingtons and some wings, and both were good.


Tuesday was my first visit to the Lehigh Valley Linux Users Group, forming two nights of geekery in a row. The LUG was larger in membership than, which wasn’t surprising.

Faber, who also had come to the Perl Mongers, gave a talk about screen(1). It was good to see more people learn about screen, which is the awesome. For the most part it was nothing new, although I learned that the sessionname command works better than when last I looked. Also, I don’t think I’d ever seen the " menu before, but I also don't think I'll use it in the future. There were less silly things said than I'd predicted, and I wouldn't feel right about laughing at a few of them in public. One, though, was said (possibly in earnest) by a spastic teen who seems to be a tolerated regular: "Hey, you could use this to make nethack multiplayer!"

I thought the screen talk was sufficient, but there was more: a brief overview of Linux certification. I thought it would get ugly, and it did. People act like certification is some kind of plot to force everyone to become incompetent and unemployable. I don’t understand this point of view. Certification is nothing more than a way to sell oneself to HR by getting someone trusted to vouch for you. No one’s required to have certification, unless he wants to get hired by a company that demands it, and it’s not a totally outlandish demand.

Despite this, the term “anal rape” came up.

Written on March 11, 2004